Pastoral Prayer to Do Hard Things

based on Matthew 5:21-37

God of the impossible, we confess that we think most of what you call us to do is way too hard. We hear Jesus’ call to love our enemies, to pray for those who have wronged us, to reconcile with people we have problems with, to guard our hearts and minds against intentions that lead to sinful behavior. Most of this sounds like it’s only meant for people who are much more holy than we could ever hope to be. How can we act as disciples when we have been conditioned so much to approach others with suspicion, fear, and caution?

Your good news for us is that your forgiving and gracious Spirit doesn’t give up on us, and calls us not to give up on one another. Through Jesus you reveal how generous you intend to be with those whom you’ve created, and you empower us to reflect that same love to each other. You move us beyond our grievances, guardedness, and grudges, and readily bestow the courage and humility that we need to do so, if only that we respond in kind to one another.

O God, help us to do the impossible. Help us to let down our own hesitations in order to be faithful, which includes difficult acts that ultimately lead to a world more whole and gentle and grace-filled. Amen.

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